ANTIPOLO – Just as their enemies stretched to the dagger in the very arena where they emerged unscathed and were crowned champions, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters seemed calm and collected and gave themselves a fightback of their own in Game 6 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals.
The Elasto Painters relied on the shooting art of Rey Nambatac and another steady performance by James Yap to ward off Magnolia, 91-81, and forge a decider for the final remaining final spot, Friday night at Ynares Center here .
“I just told the players to enjoy this game, to keep it simple and it worked,” said coach Caloy Garcia, whose team managed to extend the series after falling in three consecutive events.
“I told them not to think about what was happening and asked each of them to play their game and stay relaxed,” he added.
And it showed.
Yap led all of Rain or Shine’s scorers by 16, while Nambatac and Beau Belga threw in 15 each. Jewel Ponferrada added another 11 to retain their promising start in their semifinal series.
By the end of the third quarter, Magnolia had managed to tie the deal at 62, all thanks to Ian Sangalang’s performance.
But they had no answer for Nambatac, who started blazing at the beginning of the last frame of deep. From there, Nambatac and Yap took turns to score points, extinguishing every grain of counter-attack that the Hotshots undertook.
“To get into Game 7, we just have to do the same,” Garcia said of their sudden-death match scheduled for this Sunday at MOA Arena in Pasay.
“But Magnolia, which finds itself in such a situation, has much more experience. We just have to trust each other, “he added.
The victory broke Magnolia’s eight-match series at Ynares Center, where the Hotshots crowned the Governors’ Cup champions last December. Their last loss came in the hands of TNT on September 17, 2017.
Rain or Shine could also deny Magnolia a chance to return to his concerns in last year’s all-Philippine final.
RAIN OF SHINE 91 – Nambatac 16, Yap 16, Belga 15, Ponferada 11, Torres 8, Norwood 8, Rosales 7, Ahanmisi 5, Daquioag 2, Mocon 2, Borboran 1.
MAGNOLIA 81 – Sangalang 19, Lee 18, Jalalon 14, Herndon 9, Brondial 6, Melton 5, Reavis 4, Barroca 3, Ramos 3, Dela Rosa 0, Pascual 0, Abundo 0.
Quarters: 21-17, 41-35, 62-62, 91-81.
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